Do not be anxious! I'm in the 2011 MEIN class, and here are answers for you
1. You should hear back within 2-3 weeks about getting in. This program is NOT COMPETITIVE, literally. They accept all students who MEET the requirements (GPA 3.0, B or better in pre-reqs, 3 letters, resume). They have 30 students at each campus, with just 15 or so at Avery Point. That makes it ~100 students, when they say they receive more than that, it means that they applied so late in the year that there weren't spots available at the campuses they went to. They receive more qualified applicants than they can accept, so those students are rolled to the next year.
It is not a competition in the application pool of "Who are the brightest students", rather, it's "Who are the first 100 qualified applicants." That is the issue with "getting in". If you meet the requirements, don't sweat it, you're just waiting in line. I was rolled over from 2010 when they didn't have any more spots after finishing my pre-reqs late in the year, then I found out late January 2010 that I was accepted for January 2011. They just didn't have any open spots at any campuses.
2. The clinical placements vary greatly -- some students have great clinical sites, some students do not. Some students get to have a heavy first med-surg rotation at Hartford Hospital, while others are placed in a Nursing Home at Mount Sinai. The experiences vary greatly. They stay close to the campus you're taking your class at, so don't let anyone scare you into thinking you'll have clinicals on saturdays or sundays, or half way across the state. So far it's been Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays. earliest is 7am, latest is 11pm.
3. UConn is "working" on a way to get this program into a BSN program instead of awarding a certificate, but that's in the future. They said maybe MEIN graduates would be grandfathered in. Don't hold your breath.
4. I understand the concern about having a "B.S. and a RN certificate", but if you present yourself well, you should be in good shape. Hopefully this will change.
5. MEIN graduates are strongly discouraged/not allowed to continue to enroll in classes the following Spring of their graduation. They say it's because of the NCLEX but it's really because it makes them even more disorganized because they want you moving as a group, not just dropping into classes that fit you individually. Start in the fall as a class, work your first job. You must wait until the following Fall to enroll. Also, you can't take your Practicum courses until you have 1 full year of RN experience -- 2080 hours.
The MEIN program is more geared towards getting you prepared as an RN-- getting your RN license, and then working as a nurse before getting back into the academic program. They do not help students who want to continue immediately and are focused on becoming a Nurse Practitioner. The only CT program whose PURE focus is on training NPs is Yale's GEPN program. It is 16k spring, 16k fall, 8k summer. about 32k each of the 2 master's years. It is a 3 year full time basis.
After the MEIN 1 year full time basis, they want you to work and stop, then eventually come back as a Master's student and pick your track. They are caught up in ANA and CT politics, re: majority of nursing higher-ups (deans, assistant deans) retired or left UCONN because of state benefits, pensions, etc. The building is being renovated, etc. There are many internal problems which prohibit them from focusing on helping students or crossing T's and dotting I's. Things are disorganized.
6. If you want your BSN in 1 year, not a certificate, go to a BSN program for 1 year like Quinnipiac. If you want to be a nurse with a bachelors and a certificate, think you'll be fine with your first nursing job and want to continue with your master's a year or 18 months after you graduate, the MEIN is ok. If you want to be a NP in 3 years, STRAIGHT, go to Yale and apply to GEPN.
Yes, Yale is more expensive, but you have the Yale facility, the hospital right there (UConn has never placed any of us at the UConn hospital, not once...ever.), a full time well organized program that focuses on producing NURSE PRACTITIONERS. UConn's MEIN program really is just about getting you prepated as a nurse, fundamentally, and to sit for the NCLEX. ***NOTE: Due to poor NCLEX passing rates in the past by UCONN NURSING STUDENTS, they have an increased emphasis on board preparation via the ATI course work. Similar to a Kaplan program. ** This is nice.
So, don't worry about getting in. Apply to Quinnipiac as a back up. When things really shake out, you won't be too concerned about paying back 10K more to a school that assists in getting you a job sooner.. I don't know what it's going to be like when we all apply for our first jobs, it may be ok. I just know that it's more clear to HR when you have a BSN instead of a BS/BA + certificate.
I wish someone had told me all of this.